The three major categories that make up
elder law are:
- Estate planning and administration, including tax questions
- Medicaid, disability and other long-term care issues
- Guardianship, conservatorship and commitment matters, including fiduciary administration.
Other issues found under the umbrella of elder law include such areas as estate planning; wills; trusts; guardianships; protection against elder abuse, neglect, and fraud; end-of-life planning; all levels of disability and medical care; retirement planning; Social Security benefits; Medicare and Medicaid coverage; Medicaid planning (United States); consumer protection; nursing homes and in-home care; powers of attorney; physicians’ or medical care directives, declarations and powers of attorney; landlord/tenant needs; real estate and mortgage assistance; various levels of advice, counseling and advocacy of rights; tax issues; and discrimination.
Careers that are developing around the area of Elder Law include lawyers, paralegals, legal assistants, legal secretaries, guardians ad litem (GAL), various types of psychologists, care givers, financial planners, policy makers and legal advocates, benefit specialists, Better Business Bureau, Attorney General’s Office, Consumer Protection Agency, political watch-dog groups, health care providers, researchers, funeral planners, grief counselors, case workers, abuse & fraud investigators, educators, product developers, transportation providers, entertainment and tour guides, real estate agents, mortgage brokers, insurance providers, or simply elder companions.
According to a study published by the New England Journal of Medicine almost half of all Americans will spend some time in a nursing home. The average cost of a nursing home in the United State is approximately $9,000 per month, and in some areas it exceeds $10,000 per month.
There are five ways to pay for a nursing home: private pay, long-term care insurance, Medicare, Veterans benefits, and Medicaid. Only about 5% of Americans have long-term care insurance. Many are uninsurable or cannot afford such insurance. At most, Medicare pays part of 100 days. Less than 1% of nursing home residents are receiving Veterans benefits.
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